Food autarky

Food autarky is as important as hard currency reserves for our national security. The ZTBL is playing an important role in achieving this basic necessity by advancing loans to farmers. But unfortunately, its Board of Directors shows no leniency to cultivators’ losses incurred during natural calamities that strike their lands from time to time which prevent the farmers from repaying at the fixed time. The Bank does issue some concessionary repayment plan once in a blue moon, but it is more of a ruse to recover the interest than to help the defaulting tiller. Muaza Lundi Pitafi in district Muzaffargarh is situated on the bank of River Indus half of whose land was washed away due to swift current caused by narrowing of river bed since the building of Ghazi Ghat bridge on the Indus.
Many cultivators had lost their land permanently, but the ZTBL continues to harass them till today. Only recently a concessionary package was announced which allows the farmers to pay back the original principle sum to have their loans cleared. But unfortunately as soon as they most painfully manage to pay back this sum, their case is sent to Head Office at Islamabad, where their money is confiscated and they are asked to pay the interest as well to have their old loans cleared otherwise the previous default is clamped back on them again.
ABDUL GHAFOOR
Muzaffargarh

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